ACT News

Light rail consultation finds support for permitting bikes on board

Canberra's trams look set to include space for cyclists after a new ACT Government consultation found 44 per cent of potential passengers say they would take a bike on board.

Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell will release a new design consultation report on Friday, with a six-week community study also finding that 25 per cent of respondents said they would take a bike on board everyday.

A further 22 per cent said they would take a bike once or twice a week and nearly half backed bicycle storage facilities at stops. Groups including cycling lobby Pedal Power called for early planning around integration of bikes as part of the network. 

A proposal to include the Defence precinct at Russell as part of stage one has broad support, with 67 per cent of respondents backing the extension.

According to the report, just 10 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about the $800 million price tag for the line. 

Mr Corbell said feedback from the consultation will be used to refine design plans for the 12km route, inform redevelopment in the Northbourne Avenue corridor and further advance the light rail master plan, due for release in 2015. 

Advertisement

The line will include 13 passenger stops between the city and Gungahlin. Based on community feedback, stops at Lysaght Street and Owen Flats have been removed from the first stage, in favour of Well Station Drive and Swinden Street.

Provision will be made for a future stop near Sandford Street in Mitchell and passenger demand could see other stops added when required.  

The stops should have a modern design, with 21 per cent calling for protection from rain and wind and 12 per cent concerned about information display. 

The consultation attracted more than 400 responses to an online survey, while 572 people attended information sessions and a special pop-up information centre in the city. The Capital Metro website received 9200 visits during the same period.

Respondents also favoured sustainable power supply for the line and improvements to Northbourne as an entry way to Canberra. Respondents to the online survey called for Dickson and Northbourne Avenue to be better connected, and concern exists about bus connections and a reduction in ACTION services once light rail commences in 2019. 

More than 20 per cent want Australian native trees to replace the more than 350 which will be cut down during construction, while 15 per cent said the design should reflect Canberra's "bush capital" status. 

The report considers the "opportunity of drawing surrounding activities into the corridor, such as the 'China Town' at Dickson, the 'Hipster' feel of Braddon."

Mr Corbell said the expression of interest period for business consortia was continuing ahead of procurement, which will require facilities for bikes. 

"The exact details, including how many bicycles, how they should be managed at peak times and so on, are issues that will need to be worked through."

"It hasn't been done in Australia before for a light rail service. Obviously on heavy rail, bikes are sometimes permitted but it hasn't been proposed for light rail before." 

Mr Corbell said the chosen stop locations were based on detailed analysis of transport movements and community feedback.

"I welcome people's views on the possible extension to Russell. The government has said very clearly that there is merit in a possible extension and we are doing the detailed analysis, of economics and patronage levels as well as preliminary engineering analysis to assist us with that decision and whether or not it should be included as part of the request for proposal phase." 

Advertisement